Applic­a­tions of Castings

Foundries sup­ply all sec­tors of the mod­ern world, includ­ing the auto­mot­ive, aerospace, power gen­er­a­tion, rail­way, pet­ro­chem­ical, med­ical, defence and mar­ine – in fact all aspects of mod­ern life are depend­ent upon cast­ings, from brake discs to med­ical implants, from mar­ine engines to air­craft tur­bine blades. Here we con­sider some of these sec­tors in detail:


For the auto­mot­ive industry cast­ings are vital. Given the wide vari­ety of cast­ings they incor­por­ate, pas­sen­ger cars or trucks are incon­ceiv­able without them. Cast com­pon­ents are used not only in engines, driv­etrains and chassis but also in vehicle bodies.

Gen­eral Engineering

In gen­eral engin­eer­ing in par­tic­u­lar, the entire design of a machine is often dom­in­ated by cast com­pon­ents and relies upon innov­a­tion and advanced tech­no­logy to meet­ing increas­ingly strin­gent require­ments. Co-oper­a­tion between foundries and gen­eral engin­eer­ing com­pan­ies is based on CAD net­works as well as on FEM and sim­u­la­tion meth­ods for optim­ising cast­ings.
Foundries are increas­ingly meet­ing advances in tech­nical devel­op­ment and the demands for energy effi­ciency through light­weight con­struc­tion and the optim­isa­tion of cast components.

Agri­cul­ture Machines

Agri­cul­ture is the back­bone of almost all world eco­nom­ies. But also an agri­cul­tural machine is incom­plete without agri­cul­tural cast­ings. Parts of iron steel and light metals serve as wheels, hubs and brake drums, hydraul­ics, engine and power­train com­pon­ents etc.

Build­ing and Construction

The range of products sup­plied by foundries to the build­ing and con­struc­tion industry is very wide and includes:

  • pres­sure and drain­age pipes and specials
  • sewer cast­ings and sur­face boxes
  • cast­ings for radi­at­ors, boilers
  • cooker and stove castings
  • san­it­ary castings
  • mal­le­able fittings

Elec­trical Engineering

Like the mech­an­ical engin­eer­ing industry, elec­trical engin­eer­ing cov­ers a wide range of sub­sect­ors. Cast­ings are used in power gen­er­a­tion equip­ment such as, for example, trans­formers and gen­er­at­ors, as well as in elec­tric motors. They con­trib­ute to the suc­cess of the energy turn­around and sup­port energy effi­ciency in indus­trial plants.

Med­ical Engineering

There is hardly a bet­ter example than the use of cast com­pon­ents for the med­ical sec­tor to show how people are dir­ectly helped by cast­ings. Their range of applic­a­tions includes integ­ral parts for com­pu­ter­ised tomo­graphy and scan­ners as well as for cast pros­theses like knee and hip joints and even cast­ings used in the infra­struc­ture of hos­pit­als, such as nodes in hos­pital beds.

Ship Build­ing

Mobil­ity on the high seas, whether it serves to trans­port cargo or pas­sen­gers, is insep­ar­ably linked to cast­ings made by foundries. Foundries pro­duce large engines for ships of all sizes on a large scale and are largely respons­ible for energy effi­ciency on the oceans.

The Aerospace Industry

High-tech at its best: without cast­ings, no plane can lift off and no rocket may move into space. Cast­ings, often pro­duced by the invest­ment cast­ing pro­cess, are to be found in tur­bines and jet engines as well as in the fusel­ages, under­car­riages and interior fit­tings of airplanes.

Energy and Renew­able Energy

Renew­ables without cast­ings is incon­ceiv­able. Cast­ings are used in many aspects of the energy industry such as for pumps and valves for the oil and gas sec­tor, as well as cast nodes for off­shore and on-shore struc­tures, for hubs for wind energy tur­bines, as well cast­ings for wind and wave power applications.

Rail­way Engineering

The trans­port of pas­sen­gers as well as goods on land depends on the effi­ciency of rail engin­eer­ing in all the regions of the world. To a large extent, it is due to cast­ings that rail trans­port is one of the safest traffic infra­struc­tures to be found any­where. Cast­ings in rail applic­a­tions include motor blocks for elec­tric­ally as well as diesel-powered engines as well as under­car­riage and brake com­pon­ents on a large scale. Rail cross­ings are also castings.


Already in ancient times the great vari­ety of the cast­ing pro­cess was used in art. This accounts for the bronze age until nowadays. Sculptors like Auguste Rodin, Jeff Koons and Tony Cragg are just a few to be named, who have and are using the cast­ing pro­cess for their works.


Cast­ings are indis­pens­able for the min­ing and earth mov­ing industry. Min­ing oper­a­tions require com­plex cast­ings and con­sist­ently pure metals. Cus­tom tailored abra­sion res­ist­ant cast­ings, parts for excav­at­ors, min­ing trucks and crush­ers meet the high require­ments of this import­ant industry.

Steel Industry

Steel pro­duc­tion still is the heart-rate mon­itor of eco­nomic devel­op­ment because steel is sup­plied to the build­ing industry as well as to the motor-vehicle and mech­an­ical-engin­eer­ing com­pan­ies. Cast rolls, for example are abso­lute high-tech products, secur­ing pro­cess sta­bil­ity in steel works around the globe.

General Secretariat
CAEF - The European Foundry Association

Hansaallee 203
40549 Düsseldorf

tel: +49 (0)211 6871 217
fax: +49 (0)211 6871 40217

The following sectors of the general-engineering industry are particularly casting-intensive:

  • drivetrain technology
  • textile machinery
  • sewing and clothing machines
  • building & industrial fittings
  • rubber and plastic processing machines
  • woodworking and wood processing machines
  • printing machines
  • paper-making and dressing machines
  • machine tools
  • compressors and vacuum pumps
  • building machinery
  • building material machinery
  • food processing and packaging machines
  • agricultural engineering
  • smelting and rolling-mill equipment
  • foundry machines
  • pumps & valves and hydraulic equipment

Foundries serve all sectors of the building industry, i.e. building construction, civil engineering and residential building. The products most demanded by the private residential-building sector are castings for radiators and boilers, cooker and stove castings as well as sanitary castings. Pipes and malleable fittings account for c. 5% of casting sales.

Castings are to be found in many products in daily life, including coffee makers, mobile phones, washing machines etc. Often, they are not visible at first glance. Nevertheless, none of these appliances would work at all without cast components.